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Nurse Aide Testing Information
Nurse aides who are working under the CMS 1135 waiver have until August 5, 2023, or four months after the end of the public health emergency, whichever comes first, to pass the Nurse Aide Knowledge and Skills Test. Beginning October 3, 2022, each candidate gets four (4) opportunities to pass the knowledge test and three (3) opportunities to pass the skills test. Candidates who have not passed the test will not be eligible to continue working after the end of the waiver without enrolling in a NATCEP training program.
- You can find testing locations throughout the state to get certified and continue working: Nursing Assistant Testing (minnstate.edu)
- Information about testing and identifying the differences in testing in MN: Nurse Aide Knowledge and Skills Tests Comparisons (PDF)
MDH selected D&SDT-Headmaster as the test contractor for placement on the Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry. Testing on the Headmaster platform began on Feb. 1, 2022. Testing materials, candidate handbooks, and information about training sessions for the platform are posted on the D&SDT-Headmaster - Minnesota Nurse Aide website.
Registration for the Nurse Aide Skills and Knowledge tests is now open on the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) website. Nurse Aide candidates who have completed their training program or would like to challenge the test can register for a date and time at the Minnesota State Nursing Assistant Testing website.
Candidate handbook updates
Periodically, MDH may update the Nurse Aide Candidate Handbooks and/or Mock Skills in order to reflect the most current guidance. Changes to the Headmaster MN Candidate Handbook or Mock Skills will be communicated through GovDelivery email messages and posted below. Notifications will be sent 30 days prior to implementation of the changes and will be sent three (3) times before the implementation date.
The MN Headmaster website will identify that the handbook or mock skills have been updated, with the effective date in red as shown in the example image below. The changes are denoted on the first page of the handbook with a note that directs the reader to the areas and pages that are changing. These changes will be highlighted in the text of the handbook as well.
- General information
- Testing process
The State’s contract with Headmaster is two years, with the option for an additional 2 years.
There are several differences in the test offered by Headmaster and the previous contractor, in both the Knowledge and Skills tests. You can see a detailed comparison in this document:
MDH approves all testing sites for Minnesota, with support from Headmaster. Currently, the only test sites in MN are at colleges in the Minnesota State System. You can check the Minnesota State - Education Search website to determine if your college is part of this system.
Every testing site will complete a professional contract and submit it to Headmaster. The site will submit pictures of the testing room to validate the site has the required equipment and space to perform a testing event. Once this is completed, MDH will communicate to the site via email that it has been approved for the new testing platform.
If a test site wants to test more than one candidate in one room, they must submit a Large Lab Waiver Submission form (available on the D&SDT-Headmaster - Minnesota Nurse Aide website). The sites need to identify how visual and audio separation will be maintained between the two candidates. They need to submit sketches and/or pictures that identify separation of equipment, beds, sinks, and two sets of supplies on the 1503 form. If there are questions, Headmaster and/or MDH may request additional information or a virtual tour of the test site to determine their availability to complete this request. Once the waiver is approved, MDH will send the test site an email identifying the approval for the Large Lab Wavier.
Yes, the lab waiver can be resubmitted with additional information.
Yes, test sites can submit the current background study they have on file to Headmaster.
Yes, MDH will continue to survey test sites when they have availability.
Each testing site determines if they will offer the knowledge test virtually, or at the testing location. If a testing site offers the knowledge test on-site, computers will need to be available.
This is not an option due to the billing process. A testing site must choose one option.
Headmaster has 12 different knowledge tests. If more than 12 candidates would be testing, the test site scheduler would need to contact D&SDT - HEADMASTER to create additional tests. Headmaster can create up to 20 tests.
The state-approved testing location can choose to have their staff be the test proctor or Headmaster can provide these services. Each test site will make that determination of the service level needed for their organization.
Test sites can cancel the event and notify students according to their policies and procedures. In the TMU software, the RN test observer can send a mass email notification to test candidates including notifying them of a test cancellation.
TMU Headmaster software questions
Headmaster has created several guides for instructors with detailed steps for how to use the TMU software, which are available on the D&SDT-Headmaster - Minnesota Nurse Aide website. These include:
- How to Enter Students in MN TMU Instructor Guide (PDF)
- How to Complete a Student's Training in MN TMU (PDF)
- How to Incomplete Student's Training that did not Successfully Complete Training (PDF)
- How to Generate Reports in Headmaster TMU (PDF)
The training program will register the students in the TMU software and certify they have completed the NATCEP course. For detailed instructions, review the Headmaster guide How to Enter Students in MN TMU Instructor Guide (PDF).
There will only be one login for each test site. Multiple people can use the same login but the system does not accommodate multiple users at one time. This login is used to create and schedule test events for the test site. The scheduling can also be done by the RN test observer for walk-in candidates if the test site desires.
MDH, Headmaster, and training programs and instructors will have this information, but this is not visible to the RN test observer. Once the candidate has completed 4 attempts of the knowledge exam and 3 attempts of the skills exam without success the record will be archived in the software.
The software will identify if an RN test observer has trained the candidate and would not allow an RN test observer to test the candidate. If the RN test observer identifies other conflict of interest situations with a testing candidate, they should contact the scheduler for resolution. It is recommended the RN test observer review candidates who are scheduled to test prior to the testing events.
Headmaster form questions
When the RN test observers use an actor for the first time, they should submit the social security number (SSN) along with 1250 form through the secured RN Test Observer TMU portal. When completed, cross off the SSN with sharpie and hand to administrative or support staff OR shred the form. Once the information is sent to Headmaster, the information is loaded into the system and is not needed.
The RN test observers only needs to fill out one form; D&SDT-Headmaster will affiliate the RN test observer with the different test sites.
Test sites will need to refer to the Large Lab Waiver Submission form (available on the D&SDT-Headmaster - Minnesota Nurse Aide website) for this request.
Yes, this is allowed if it meets the 1503 requirements. If additional candidates are testing in one room, a Large Lab Waiver (available on the D&SDT-Headmaster - Minnesota Nurse Aide website) needs to be requested.
The glasses are used for measuring fluids as part of the feeding skills test. At this time, the feeding skills test has been suspended. In preparation for future testing, test sites should have these glasses available. The glasses can be purchased through Headmaster or elsewhere.
Knowledge test structure
The reading level is between 5.1 to 5.7 on the Flesch-Kincaid reading level scale, meaning a less than 6th grade reading level.
There are 70 questions on the test, and candidates must receive a score of 76% to pass the knowledge test.
Candidate tests from March 4 to April 4, 2022, indicated that candidates completed the test in an average of 36 minutes.
MDH continually monitors nurse aide competency testing. MDH understands candidates have different learning styles and backgrounds. After careful consideration, MDH increased the knowledge test time from one hour to a maximum of two hours.
Candidates taking the knowledge test will have a maximum of two hours to complete the 70-question knowledge test. Candidates will also have up to four (4) chances to pass the knowledge exam, if unsuccessful after 3 attempts. There will be no additional changes to the knowledge test.
The increased time allotment and fourth opportunity to complete the knowledge test will be implemented on Oct. 3, 2022. Candidates taking the knowledge test prior to Oct. 3rd 2022, will have one hour to complete the 70-question knowledge test.
MDH will be monitoring student testing scores and testing times and will re-evaluate in one year from date of implementation, Oct. 3, 2023.
MDH has sent out communication regarding the change via GovDelivery to all MDH approved training programs, test sites, and providers. MDH will send out this communication at a minimum of three (3) times prior to implementation of the change in knowledge test time and testing opportunities.
MDH will monitor candidates' test performance and will re-evaluate in March 2023 to determine next steps.
Each student will need to decide what best meets their needs. Students should check with their test site for test cancellation and reschedule policies to ensure being followed to avoid accrual of costs.
Candidates should consult with their test site for policies and procedures related to cost.
No, MDH needs to ensure all students are given the knowledge test in the same consistent manner. Candidates can complete the knowledge test based on individual testing time needs. Refer to Nursing Assistant Training and Testing for additional information regarding cost.
The process for granting ADA accommodations has not changed. MDH and D&SDT-Headmaster will continue to provide reasonable accommodations for candidates with disabilities or limitations that may affect their ability to perform the nurse aide competency examination. Accommodations are granted in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Please refer to Candidate Handbook for additional information: D&S - Minnesota Nurse Aide Testing Services.When an ADA request is approved, only the candidate is emailed by Headmaster the details of the accommodations. Within this email, the candidate is informed of the specifics of their approved accommodations. Candidates are to inform the test site before scheduling a test that they have an approved accommodation. Allow the test site 10-14 business days to coordinate this accommodation.
Starting October 3, 2022, each candidate has four (4) attempts to pass the knowledge portion of the exam.
Training programs can generate reports from Headmaster's TMU system. These reports can help training programs understand how their students are performing on the nurse aide competency exams and determine where they may want to make changes. For additional information on generating reports in TMU: How to Generate Reports in Headmaster TMU for Nurse Aide Training Programs (PDF)
Any candidate that has not successfully passed the knowledge test prior to October 3rd, 2022, is eligible to take the knowledge test a fourth time. There is no time limit on candidate eligibility.
D&SDT-Headmaster testing policies have not changed. You are not allowed to leave the testing room (knowledge test room or skills lab) once the exam has begun for any reason. If you do leave during your test event, you will not be allowed back into the testing room to finish your exam.
Candidates may contact MDH Nurse Aide Registry at email@example.com with additional questions, concerns or other feedback.
Each state convenes a group of experts, called a Test Advisory Panel (TAP), which includes teachers and instructors that teach the nurse aide program curriculum to choose which questions appear on the test.
The Minnesota TAP consisted of 24 teachers and instructors; they chose the questions that are included on the Minnesota Nurse Aide Test based on a review of several Minnesota nurse aide program curricula.
The Minnesota TAP members chose 941 questions to be in the nurse aide test bank for test questions.
No, there are 70 questions. Those 70 questions are chosen from the bank of 941 available questions.
Yes, MDH can review, reword, change, or delete any of the test questions. As of May 2022, MDH has removed five test questions.
Each question is graded for difficulty on a scale of 0-1 based on a statistical calculation, a lower score indicates a more difficult question. A difficulty value less than 0.25 means that very few test takers answer the question correctly. Conversely, a difficulty value greater than 0.97 indicates that very few test takers ever miss the question.
The average value for all questions in Minnesota is 0.80.
MDH meets with Headmaster twice a month to review test questions and determine why candidates may not be passing certain questions. As a result, some test questions have been removed from the test.
During the monthly NAR Training Program video conferences, MDH will review areas where test results are lower. Information about past and upcoming calls can be found on the Nursing Assistant Registry Calls website.
The training program can use the Test Master Universe (TMU) software to review their students’ scores and areas where students are having more difficulty. They can adjust their teaching format to assist students in their testing.
Practice tests can be found on the D&S Headmaster Home Page. Either individual or group practice tests specific to Minnesota can be purchased.
All states have a specific number of questions in each subject area based on the Test Advisory Panel team. When a practice test is purchased, Headmaster ensures it has the number of test questions required for each of the chosen state’s subject areas. Review the Knowledge Test Content section of the Minnesota Nursing Assistant Candidate Handbook (PDF) for additional information.